At the crossroads

March/April 2017 edition

Change is inevitable. Change is good. And the best type is the change we bring about ourselves.

Disruptors. Distractions. Dilemmas. We’ve been hearing about the dreaded Ds and the enormous impact they’re going to have on the real estate industry for what seems like years. But while we’re still waiting for that watershed moment of change to happen, one thing is for sure – we’ve allowed ourselves to be diverted from our main purpose.

Far from focusing on increasing our service offering and strengthening our value proposition as agents, we’ve instead spent our time looking over our shoulders at what others are doing. We’ve been too focused on the external forces of change, rather than being our own force for change.

The industry we find ourselves working in today is very different to the industry as it was just a few short years ago. The traditional suite of services provided by agents is under attack. There’s a lot of money in real estate and people are designing electronic solutions to do all or part of our job. Referral sites, agent rating sites, valuation tools, consumer advocates – they’re all looking for ways to take a bigger slice of the real estate pie.

That’s why it’s vital for us to keep asking ourselves what changes we need to make to ensure our survival. What do consumers want from the real estate professional of the future? What will our role be? How will we interact with clients? And, importantly, what value do we bring to the table?

Be the change we want to see
Society has changed. Expectations have changed. Everything has changed, except the way we deal with the transaction. We need to look at the services we’re providing and the value those services afford to our clients – not just in the short term, but over a much longer period. We need to look beyond the immediate transaction.

As agents, we’re in a unique position to extend and deepen our involvement in all stages of the real estate transaction by building and nurturing relationships with clients that extend beyond the obvious moments of buying, selling and leasing.

We need to position ourselves as professionals at the centre of each and every real estate transaction. We need to offer a wide range of services to our clients, provide creative solutions to complex problems and give sound information and advice about the property and the market. And we need to have a reputation for providing a high level of service and behaving ethically and honestly. Everything we do must be about increasing the quality of our service, rather than attempting to resist the changing environment around us.

Decision time
Our industry is at a crossroads – one that presents us with the most critical choice we’ve been posed in more than 100 years.

Which road will you take? Will you tread the track of least resistance and continue with the status quo? Or will you boldly set out on the pathway toward professionalism?

At REINSW, we believe the right decision is clear. That’s why we’ve been working closely with the Professional Standards Councils and its agency, the Professional Standards Authority, as well as and industry leaders over the last couple of years to map out our path to being formally recognised as a profession. 

Our journey will require us all to change – our attitudes, our behaviours and the way we collectively present ourselves. But by working together we can be the change we want to see.

John Cunningham
REINSW President